How thick can you cut with an electric jigsaw?

Why the jigsaw is crooked and how to fix it

In most cases, the process of straight and shape sawing of materials requires extreme precision of the tool. This statement is most true for an electric jigsaw. The thin saw blades used in this device can easily change the cutting angle, which can have a negative impact on line accuracy. The clarity of the product edges and the evenness of the sawing line depends on the operator’s skills, the serviceability of the device and the saw. Next, we’ll tell you how to get the planned contour with perfectly sharp edges and what to do if the jigsaw is veering sideways.

The departure of the saw blade from the predetermined line, can be due to several reasons. The operator may not have enough experience in handling the tool, the saw blade may be defective, and the rod and guide roller for jigsaws can seriously backlash. In order not to guess by coffee grounds, it is worth to start sifting out the factors that determine the accuracy and smoothness of the cutting line in your individual case.

As a rule, it is better to start with yourself and your approach to sawing. Often, beginners handyman hurry up and wanting to speed up the sawing process, apply great pressure on the jigsaw. The tool has no time to evenly gnaw into the material and create a clear groove for the saw, which begins to follow the path of least resistance and makes unpredictable movements. This problem is especially common when working with a thick beam (from 40mm) and lacquered plywood from Soviet times.

This is one of the reasons why the jigsaw is sideways. What to do in this case? The answer is obvious. Apply as little pressure as possible to guide the tool along the line and set the maximum RPM (when working with wood). Pendulum mode usually has no effect on a smooth cut if it is designed correctly.

The quality of the assembly and the wear and tear of the parts of the tool, can be a significant reason for the formation of beveled lines when sawing. To devices from the budget segment (up to 2500), there are no claims, as well as hopes for their conscientious assembly. It is quite another matter when such tricks are performed by original brand-name tools. Often, the cause of a crooked cut is the guide roller, the jigsaw rod or its sole.

You can check whether the element is securely fastened by jerking it by hand. If the slackness of a rod or roller is more than 1 mm, this device can not make a perfectly straight cut. The greater the backlash of the parts, the less accurate the line for trimmer sawing they form. The problem must be corrected according to the circumstances. If the part itself is worn, it can be replaced with a similar part. It’s hard to fix a failure if the attachment to the mechanism is worn. For such repairs not every modern jigsaw will undertake, and usually this problem is solved by buying a new tool.

The products of many proven brands, unfortunately, are often counterfeited, and jigsaws for jigsaws in this regard are very popular. It so happens that low-quality and counterfeit products have a fairly short service life, which brings the owner a lot of problems. One such problem, is a crooked cut. An initially flat blade can bend due to poor quality metal, which can deform the tooth separation, if present at all. In connection with this, if your jigsaw saws crookedly, to correct the situation will be able to replace the saw blade. The process of choosing a quality saw blade for jigsaws has been disclosed by us in detail in a separate topic.

To get a perfectly straight cut you do not need to be a craftsman or have a professional tool with the original consumables. For such purposes, there is a very simple and useful device, which we will tell you about next.

Types of jigsaw shanks

The first thing you should pay attention to when choosing a jigsaw for an electric jigsaw is the type of its shank. And this is logical: if your tool is not designed to work with this variety, you simply will not be able to use a new blade. In fact there are not many variants:

thick, electric, jigsaw

It is often referred to as a “Bosch blade”, because this company developed saws with this type of shank. Since Bosch is the market leader in jigsaws and jigsaw accessories, and other industry giants are trying to move to this standard, it is not surprising that T-shank saws are currently the most common. T-tail fits most modern jigsaws. Bosch, Makita, Metabo, Hitachi, Skil, AEG, DeWALT, Sparky, “Interskol” and others.

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The second most popular type of shank, the American standard. This is a universal shank for old Skil, DeWALT, Wolf, Ryobi, Stayer, BlackDecker and other jigsaws. Suitable for all jigsaws with clamping block and screw driver.

This shank is only compatible with older Makita jigsaws.

Only differs from the T-shank with a second stop. Such saw blades are suitable only for older Bosch models.

The last two types of shank can already be referred to the category of rarities. To find such saws in domestic stores today is almost unreal.


The speed of the tool depends on the properties of its working mechanism, which has certain indicators. The main technical characteristics of a jigsaw are power, cutting depth and spindle (saw blade) stroke frequency. Let’s understand what opportunities are offered by these or those indicators.

Power Frequency

Affects how fast and accurate the cut. For domestic jigsaws, the maximum number of reciprocating movements of the saw blade is 3000 per minute, when the professional saw blade has up to 3200. It is better to cut wood with a tool with a high frequency of movement, and for metal on the contrary, the minimum values of this indicator will be suitable.

Most modern jigsaws are equipped with a special regulator, where you can set the speed optimum for working with a particular material. Analogous to the regulator, can serve as a sensitive trigger, the force of pressing which affects the frequency of movement.


  • Power 400-600W is powerful enough to cut 50-80mm thick wood and 3-4mm thick steel. This is enough for most household chores.
  • The index of 600-900 W will allow safely sawing the wood up to 100 mm, and steel up to 8 mm. Such power, in most cases, have professional tools, used in production with high loads.

Cutting depth

  • Budget jigsaws for home use have an average of 60 mm for wood, 3 mm for steel and 4 mm for non-ferrous metals.
  • The maximum cutting depth for professional tools can be 160 mm for wood, 30 mm for aluminum and 10 mm for steel. This power reserve is not very relevant in a domestic situation.

How to saw Particle board, laminate

Next, let’s consider how to evenly saw off the chipboard with an electric jigsaw to avoid damaging the laminated face surface.

Choice of saws. Specialists recommend using a circular saw. Though you may feel uncomfortable during the work because of increased vibration, but the quality of the cut will not suffer. If conventional saws are used, however, the work is done on the backside of the material to be cut.

Power Frequency. It is necessary to set the stroke frequency to the maximum.

Pendulum Mechanism. The pendulum mechanism should be switched off to avoid the formation of chips.

Sawing process. The tool should be pressed firmly against the surface of the material, while driving it smoothly without applying excessive pressure.

Chips appear on the part of the material that is facing the tool. That’s why if the material is sawn with a regular tooth file it is possible to make the cut on the back side of the board beforehand defining the front side.

To make cuts in chipboard or laminate you can also use the splinterguard. It is a small piece with a kerf that is inserted in special guides on the base plate. the ideal saw blade is the one in which the kerf corresponds exactly to the thickness of the saw blade. That is why some manufacturers supply several of these inserts with their jigsaws. In this case the cut in each of them must be made by yourself. After that you can start sawing Particleboard.

Characteristics and selection criteria

Electric jigsaws can be divided into three categories: household, professional and industrial. Most often choose from the first two options, with the main selection criterion between these categories is the frequency of use, which is absolutely true. Well now let’s talk about the main characteristics that are worth considering regardless of the choice of professional or home electric jigsaw.


The power of an electric jigsaw indicates its performance. The higher the index, the faster it will cope with the same work. Also, higher power allows you to work with thick or especially durable materials like metal. Low-power models are also capable of it, but the speed of work will decrease very much. Of course, there is a direct correlation with the price. The more powerful, the more expensive.

But power has a downside: the more powerful the jigsaw, the heavier it will be. Besides it is not a fact that you need a high wattage at all, it depends on the type of material you have to work with. We can nominally distinguish three groups:

Up to 400 W. work with wood thickness up to 60-70 mm and metal sheets (steel) up to 2 mm;

thick, electric, jigsaw

400 to 600 W. metal up to 5 mm, good for chipboard, fiberboard, etc.д.;

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Above 600 W can cut wood up to 80-90 mm and metal up to 8 mm.

Please note that this does not mean that a 350 W electric jigsaw cannot cut a 4 mm thick sheet of steel, it just takes too long. Manufacturers must also specify the maximum amount of kerf cut. But these are very informative notations, for example the 400 and 600W models could have the same kerf. Different companies simply have different estimates of optimum performance.

thick, electric, jigsaw

Also do not forget that it also depends on the type of wood (if we are talking about it), the type of saw blade, whether there is a pendulum stroke and other parameters. That is, these values should be taken as approximate. It can be oriented on them, but it should be remembered that they are not exact. Note that manufacturers often simply over-insure themselves. Why they do this? It’s simple. If you try to saw thick wood with a low-powered jigsaw, it will mean a high load, which will lead to overheating and possible engine failure.

They often use the following formulas: power/10 = maximum thickness of wood, power/100 = maximum thickness of metal. But, given the above, this is also very tentative.

Stroke length

The stroke length (also sometimes said “stroke amplitude”) of the saw also has a significant impact on performance. There is to say simply, the greater this characteristic, the faster the jigsaw will work. But it is important not to forget about the correspondence between stroke length and power, if the latter is not enough, there will be no performance gain. But manufacturers try to keep to the normal proportions. It is possible to distinguish three groups:

Stroke of 15 to 17 millimeters at low-performance household tools. Below 15 this index happens, but the problems with increased saw blade wear start.

15-20 mm. universal models.

19-26. provide the highest performance, used in manufacturing.

The stroke of the electric jigsaw blade does not always have to be as great as it may seem. The smaller the stroke, the lower the output and the higher the wear, yes, but the precision and accuracy of the cut increases. Which in certain cases is very important. This is something to keep in mind when choosing a jigsaw, too.

Frequency of jigsaw strokes

Also may be referred to as “number of strokes”. The speed is important because less resistant materials need more strokes (for an efficient cut) and harder materials need less strokes. For example, for metal usually choose a range of 600 to 800, for hard wood from 1600 to 2000, well, for soft wood, the more the better, you can use 3000 strokes per minute.

Makes Curved or Straight Cuts in Thick or Thin Metal: Metal Cutting Jig Saw from Eastwood

Fortunately, this indicator was relevant in the old days, and modern models have adjustable stroke frequency, which allows you to choose the optimal mode of operation. Therefore, it is worth looking at this characteristic only in the context of the maximum value. 2800-3100 is a good value.

Pendulum stroke

Almost all models of modern electric jigsaws have this function, if it is not present, it is better to refuse to buy. Although, you may not need it, it’s up to you to decide. The meaning of the pendulum stroke is to reduce saw wear, reduce the load on the motor and increase productivity. The disadvantage is a decrease in the quality of the cut, so the pendulum stroke is useful when there is a large amount of work, but the accuracy and precision are not important.

By the way, many beginners who take an electric jigsaw for the first time often make this simple mistake: turn on the pendulum stroke and wonder why the cut is not very clean. This can be found in product reviews, but in the end it turns out that people simply do not understand how to use this function.

Type of power

There are mains and cordless jigsaws. What the main difference we dealt with in this article, where we compared cordless and corded power tools. Here the choice should be based on what is important to you. If autonomy is needed, the choice will be a cordless tool, in all other cases, usually choose cordless tools.

Are You Using the Right Jigsaw Blade?

Additional parameters and functions

Electric jigsaws have a number of additional parameters, some of which can be very important in certain cases, and some of which are not of fundamental importance, only to increase the ease of operation.

Soft start. Almost all modern power tools have this feature, but even the most expensive models do not. It is needed for two things: to reduce the load on the motor when starting, and to reduce the load on the power grid. This is especially true for

The ability to adjust the tilt of the sole is needed for cutting at an angle. But be aware that a certain amount of skill is required when tilting, because if you make too much effort, the cutting angle will be disturbed. It is also necessary to feed the jigsaw evenly, especially when turning.

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What’s next

Start with the first screwdriver. It is clamped after checking that the installation is secure.

And then the jigsaw is turned on. And they make it so that the speed is as fast as possible. The pendulum motion controller is set at the first digit.

The saw has to be set to the cutting line. The guide is squeezed with the platform side. After that the tool is used for sawing.

The tool advances smoothly, the platform is carefully controlled. The platform and the guide must be close to each other so that nothing moves. The sawed off part should be carefully held with a few centimeters left to the end. Then the piece will not break off.

Tooth shape

Such a nuance as “tooth shape” should not be neglected, because their configuration can determine the capabilities of the purchased jigsaw. Before making a purchase, it is worth to realize for what needs one or another blade is purchased. A lot of small teeth will make a good cut, but it also reduces speed. Blades with big teeth will speed up the process, but the cut will be pretty messy. According to the shape of the teeth, the blade can be divided into the following groups:

  • Diluted. such a blade is used for cutting soft metals. Unwinding accompanies the accumulation of heat. As for the sawdust, this structure of the teeth keeps it away from the blade.
  • Wavy. also used for cutting soft materials, aluminum, non-ferrous metal. In this case, the set-up is grouped.
  • With tapered sanding. used for cutting plastic and wood.
  • Sanded. used for rough cutting of wood and other materials.

Width and thickness of the saw blade

Such a nuance as the width and thickness of the jigsaw blade should not be ignored when choosing a jigsaw, because the quality and speed of various kinds of works depend on these two nuances. Both wide and narrow products have their positive points. Wide saw blades are quite strong and stable. When using it, you don’t have to worry about it deviating from its intended course. Narrow blades are easier to perform various maneuvers than wide ones. Thickness is also important, since the thicker the blade, the greater its stability.

General information about the tool

A jigsaw is a saw, the cutting blade of which performs a reciprocating motion. Depending on the design, the tool performs from 200 to 3,000 vibrations every minute, through which the metal workpiece is cut.

Jigsaw, unlike most saws (manual, trimmer and others), is designed for shape cutting. over, it is difficult to get a straight line for a trimmer cut, but a curved one. easily. However, there are products for cutting at right angles. They are equipped with special guides and cost a little more than their counterparts, while weighing down the design.

Experts divide jigsaws for metal into groups according to a number of parameters, among which:

According to the latter criterion, the tool is divided into two types:

The former allows you to hold the tool in one hand, which reduces the accuracy of the cut, but the scope of use expands. The second must be held with both hands, fixing the part in place beforehand. This is inconvenient, but the precision of the workpiece cutting increases.

The type of handle classifies only handheld models. This is not the case with electric saws. information on the other types of cutting tools below.

Blades for specific tasks

Drywall and cement-containing materials quickly shrink any saw, except for specially designed blades with tungsten carbide tips that also cut thermal insulation well.

Cut a hole in a tile with a carbide-tipped ceramic saw without teeth. Also suitable for fiberglass reinforced plastics.

Cutting blades for cardboard, rubber and other soft materials are not serrated, but have ground corrugations or are simply similar to a knife.

For sawing composite materials, special saws are designed with one half of the blade equipped with fine teeth and the other half with coarse.

Tip. Saw blade length is chosen based on material thickness. To prevent the blade from tearing or breaking, its end must come out of the cutting line in any position of the jigsaw pendulum.

For home needs a set of 5-10 saws of different purposes is enough. Only starting to use a jigsaw, buy an inexpensive set, master the subtleties of working with different types of blades and already based on their own experience pick up the right saws. Still there are no rigid recommendations, one blade often copes well with atypical for him tasks. Here you can experiment, but think first.

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